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Murder at Mykonos: Anatomy of a Political Assassination

Powerful corroboration for Mesbahi’s testimony also came from a remarkably frank interview given by the Minister of Intelligence and Head of the National Security Council, Hojjatoleslam Ali Fallahian, to the Iranian television station IRB on August 30, 1992, a tape of which was shown to the court. During the interview, given less than a month before the Mykonos assassinations, Fallahian explained that his organization had been successful in disrupting the activities of opposition groups in many ways:

Overall, no opposition groups can be found in this nation at present. They have been forced to flee… We are currently following them and are constantly watching them outside of this nation. We have infiltrated their central organizations and are informed of their activities. We have been able, thanks to God, to keep their activities under our constant control… Furthermore, we have been able to strike a blow at many of these opposition groups outside or close to our boundaries. As you know, one of these active opposition groups is the Kurdish Democratic Party (PDKI), which through two organs, the main group and the auxiliary department, operates in Kurdistan… we have been able to strike decisive blows at their cadres. The respective main group and auxiliary department suffered severe blows and their activities shrank.110

Another important indication of Iranian state involvement in the assassinations offered by the witnesses was the fact that on September 16, 1992, the day before the Mykonos murders, a state of military alert had been declared in Kurdistan by the government in Tehran. The witnesses argued that this was evidence that the Islamic Republic wished to be prepared for any adverse reaction by the Kurds when the news of the assassinations broke. There was no other obvious reason for the alert. Shahed Hosseini testified that such action was typically taken on the potentially volatile anniversaries of other similar events, such as the murder of the former PDKI leader Dr. Ghassemlou.111

5.5. BfV Report on the Mykonos Assassinations

On December 19, 1995 the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, better known by the acronym BfV)112 submitted its report to the German Prosecutor's office on the direct involvement of the Ministry of Intelligence in the Mykonos assassinations. The report stated the following:

A department of the Ministry of Information and Security113 was directly involved in the assassination of the Kurdish leaders on September 17, 1992 in Berlin. This department which is responsible for assassinations and is known as the “special operations unit,”114 has been for some time after the members of the PDKI. A team from this department, for example, was responsible for the Ghassemlou assassination.
The Ministry of Information and Security sent an assassination team to Berlin from Tehran at the beginning of September. The team met with local agents, to research and plan the assassination.
The team used a Ministry of Information and Security source to concretely establish when and where the leadership of the PDKI was going to meet. This source - based on the BfV's informationwas in the restaurant during the assassination. After the assassination the [Ministry of Information and Security] team left Berlin for Iran using a carefully set plan.115

[110]Jost Memo, supra note 73, at 3.
[111]Mykonos Judgment, supra note 27, at 355
[112]The BfV is the German government organ responsible for gathering and analyzing information related to security threats and monitoring intelligence activities carried out on behalf of foreign powers. It is authorized to gather information through undercover agents, covert surveillance, and mail and telephone interception. Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, Tasks, http://www.verfassungsschutz.de/en/en_about_bfv/tasks.html (accessed: Jan 3, 2007).
[113]See footnote 23 regarding the name of this ministry.
[114]Mesbahi referred to this entity as the "Special Operations Committee"
[115]Memorandum from Grünewald, Official, Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz [Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution], to Bruno Jost, Senior Public Prosecutor, Generalbundesanwalt beim Bundesgerichtshof [Chief Federal Prosecutor’s Office of the Federal High Court] at 2 (Dec. 19, 1995) (on file with IHRDC)..

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Political Killings, Assassinations, Political Freedom